On graduation day, the only part of the Dean’s speech I recall is “today you are the doctor but tomorrow you will be the patient “.

The power of care giving can often make us deluded into thinking we are ourselves immune to illness,however as time marches on and I come across some of the war beaten GPs that have been single handedly, day in day out working in their surgeries, overweight and haggard. I wonder if this an inevitable outcome of this profession.

The impact of this in some ways is more keenly felt by locum GPs, with peculiar health impacts we have to be aware of.

Travel : It is well documented the impact of travel on long distance lorry drivers. Higher incidence of lower back pain, hemorrhoids, obesity,cancer.and hypertension.
If you are a road warrior clocking up 2 hr of driving a day, you aren’t quite in the same category as these 40 hr full time drivers but you may suffer 25% effect

Problem: Travel impact on body
Solution : Consider ergonomics of the car, lumbar support, take breaks.

Shift work
As I’m sure Jeremy Hunt is only now too aware that doctors man every station in the front line 24/7 and we will always need GPs working lates and nights.
However recent research has highlighted the risks for individuals that are not getting enough sleep in the same category as smoking, increasing risk of cancer and heart disease as well as cognitive problems and depression.

Problem: Night shifts wreck your body
Solution : Don’t OD on late and night shifts.

Stress – In lots of ways locum life is much less stressful than the ball and chain of partnership.
CQC and QOF inspections and all the other raz mataz of regular work is like water off a ducks back to us.
There are stresses we have to take in our stride such as traffic jams, uncertainty of how the surgery operates, every day is random and anything can happen.

Problem: GP work can be random. some surgeries can be quite dysfunctional.
Solution : Arrive early and like a good cub scout. ..be prepared.

You are unfit and pudgy –  Not completely all your fault. At lunchtime you are often faced with a choice between Mcdonalds, subway and a Tesco sandwich although you would love to spend an hour in the gym, the one that you pay a hefty monthly subscription often doesn’t have a branch in the location you happen to be that day. Refuelingis a killer….trying to walk past the 10m of tempting treats and not picking up a kit kat is a exercise in endurance.
1 kit kat/week=52 kitkat/year = 26926 cal/year= 3.5 kilo extra blubber fat.

Problem: Bad diet no exercise
Solution: There is only one solution. make your own food from home. Pay at the pump when refueling.
consider using http://www.payasugym.com
to get ad hoc gym sessions on the day.

Loneliness and tiredness
I’ve met some people that can’t say no to work. maybe we’ve all been there, we convert
the hours into money and find ourselves working around the clock, with the patients being the only human intraction we may get.

Pause for a minute. No, I mean really pause…work out how much you need/want to earn and stick to that many hours a week.
Plan a couple of holidays a year even short breaks. Work /life balance…have you got it? if not do something about it.

Problem : Your always feel fatigue and becoming socially awkward at risk of burnout
Solutions : Work hard but play hard and inject fun and happiness into your life

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